Tag Archives: lcp

Taurus 709 Slim Photo Review

22 Sep

I posted last week about finally purchasing a Taurus 709 Slim in 9 mm after spending a lot of time considering and looking at the various .380 pocket pistols. I found the LCP/TCP/P3AT all too small for me to easily handle, grip and shoot with confidence. Although the 709 is really too big to pocket carry in most situations, it is small enough (and SLIM enough!) to tuck easily into a waistband or a jacket pocket.

I have the model 709SS with a matte stainless slide. Here are the full specs on the 709:

  • Model : 709SS
  • Finish: Matte Stainless Steel
  • Status: Available
  • Caliber: 9 mm
  • Grips: Checkered Polymer
  • Capacity : 7 +1
  • Weight: 19 oz
  • Barrel Length: 3″
  • Frame: Compact
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Front Sight: Fixed
  • Length: 6″
  • MSRP: $498.00

I’ve had the pistol for about a week and have carried it a few times and spent some range time with it. Instead of doing a conventional written review, I thought I’d try a ‘photo review’ to bring out my impressions on the Taurus 709.

P1150211.jpg picture by dtm101

Taurus 709 Slim in 9mm Parabellum. The 709 is an attractively designed pistol with a number of nice features for CCW.

P1150212.jpg picture by dtm101

Left side of the Taurus 709 Slim showing the slide release, magazine release and safety. Unfortunately for us lefties, none of these controls are ambidextrous.

P1150213.jpg picture by dtm101

Racking the slide on the 709 is not difficult and the slide release locks the slide open upon firing the last round.

P1150217.jpg picture by dtm101

Field stripping the 709 is done via Glock style levers on the frame just above the trigger. You must pull the trigger to fully release the slide for removal so be absolutely sure there are no rounds in the chamber before disassembly..

P1150220.jpg picture by dtm101

The underside of the slide is machined well with no rough spots. When the slide is attached to the frame, there is very little movement/wobble.

P1150222.jpg picture by dtm101

The frame of the 709 is polymer with steel inserts for the slide rails and a steel barrel locking block. Interior components are on par (thickness and appearance) with other polymer pistols that I own.

P1150225.jpg picture by dtm101

The Taurus 709 (bottom) compared to the S&W M&P9. This photo doesn't really show the actual size difference between these two pistols. The 709 weighs approximately 10 oz less and is much more compact in carry mode.

P1150226.jpg picture by dtm101

The 709 placed on top of the M&P9 to show the dimensional differences between the two pistols. Again the photo doesn't do justice to the real size difference the you feel when handling them.

P1150229.jpg picture by dtm101

Taurus 709 (top) and S&W M&P9 (bottom). This photo does a nice job of showing how small and slim the 709 is in comparison to a full size service pistol.

P1150230.jpg picture by dtm101

The 709 fills the hand fairly well for a compact pistol. I fired 120 rounds during my first range session with the 709 and didn't experience any FTF or FTE issues. Recoil is snappy but I didn't find it difficult to manage.

P1150231.jpg picture by dtm101

I found the 709 to point naturally in my hand. 'Memory pads' on the frame work well to keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. I was able to shoot 3" to 3 1/2" groups at 15 yards with several brands of ammo including my own reloads.

P1150232.jpg picture by dtm101

While not really a pocket pistol, the 709 is quite compact and is easily concealable. I'm currently looking for an inside the waist band (IWB) holster for concealed carry.

P1150235.jpg picture by dtm101

One nice feature of the 709 is the manual thumb safety. Here it is pictured in the 'safe on' position. Also take note of the Glock-style safety incorporated into the trigger. The 709 has a two stage trigger with a rather long but light first stage followed by a short but heavy second stage. The second stage is heavier than I prefer but it's manageable. It also offers you 'second strike' capability where you can pull the trigger again double action style of for some reason you get a light primer strike the first time.

P1150236.jpg picture by dtm101

Thumb safety in the "safe off" position. As mentioned previously the safety is not ambidextrous and can be tricky to engage with a left handed grip. The magazine release can be seen in the bottom of the photo. It's not ambidextrous either but I was able to engage the release easily with my trigger finger. Magazines drop freely when the release is pushed.

P1150242.jpg picture by dtm101

The rear polymer sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. My pistol shot quite low at 15 yards even with the rear sight fully extended. This is apparently a common problem with the 709. Taurus has offered to pay for shipping it to Miami for repair, but I'm not ready to part with the pistol for an extended repair period (I'd be interested in knowing whether anyone has found a commercial replacement front sight that would correct the problem). Just below the rear sight is the 'Taurus Security System' that can be engaged with a key to make the firearm in-operable.

P1150253.jpg picture by dtm101

There is a relatively large area around the feed ramp where the cartridge case is unsupported. I didn't have any issues with several brands of factory loads but I did experience case bulging with my reloads. The Taurus manual specifies the use of factory loads only and I would agree!

P1150249.jpg picture by dtm101

Several of my fired reloads exhibiting case bulging in the area of the unsupported feed ramp. These were 124 grain bullets over 5.3 grains of Unique which is a rather mild loading according to the Speer manual. I will be sticking to factory loads in the 709 in the future. I've not had any case bulging with these same reloads in my other 9 mm pistols.

Diamondback Firearms DB380

6 Aug

Ever since Ruger introduced the LCP at the 2008 SHOT Show I have been interested in getting a pocket-carry pistol in .380ACP. And every time I am nearly ready to lay some cash down for the LCP another pocket pistol that catches my interest.

This time my ‘discovery’ is the Diamondback Firearms DB380. Diamondback is a new manufacturer based in Cocoa, Florida. There is no mention of Kel-Tec on their web site, but I can’t help but think of the possibility of a relationship between the two (both are based in the same town, both making pocket pistols). The DB380 is currently the only offering from Diamondback.

To my eye the DB380 looks like a mini-Glock or what a S&W 380 Bodyguard would look like without a laser. I would consider both references to be compliments.

Jeff Quinn over at GunBlast did a nice review on the DB380 back in January 2010. He found it to be an accurate and reliable pistol in his testing and points out a number of features not found on other pocket pistols: excellent sights, good trigger and easy Glock-style takedown.

The specs on the DB380 and Ruger LCP are nearly identical in length, width, height, etc. When I compared them side by side at a gun shop I really didn’t notice any difference in their size. To me, the big difference between the LCP and the DB380 are the extra features on the Diamondback pistol that Jeff Quinn mentions in his review. It’s sights and trigger are much improved over the LCP.

Pricing on the DB380 is somewhat higher than on the LCP. Diamondback lists their MSRP at  $430 with prices on Gunbroker going around $350-$380. The LCP is nearly $100 less than these prices.

I still have not been able to decide between these two pocket pistols. I like many of the features of the DB380 but I am somewhat weary of buying a gun from a new manufacturer like Diamondback. Then there is the price…  the LCP is certainly a more attractive option for my wallet.